• Christies auction house James Christie logo

    Sale 2605

    Asian Contemporary Art (Day Sale)

    25 May 2008, Hong Kong

  • Lot 472


    Price Realised  


    (Born in 1962)
    Origin of Karma 0706 & 0708
    signed and dated 'Suh Yong; 07' in Korean (lower right)
    flax, loess, tella alba, inorganic pigment, synthetic pigment, gold leaf & silver leaf
    175 x 155 cm. (68 3/4 x 61 in.) x 2 pieces
    Painted in 2007
    one seal of the artist (2)

    Contact Client Service
    • info@christies.com

    • New York +1 212 636 2000

    • London +44 (0)20 7839 9060

    • Hong Kong +852 2760 1766

    • Shanghai +86 21 6355 1766

    Suh has lived in the sandy Tunhua Cave area for seven years, devoting himself to scholarly research and creative work. He combines his academic background with contemporary artistic concepts to create a personal style and a new approach to contemporary fresco. Suh applies traditional fresco techniques and media and executes frescoes based on old compositions as well, to present the genuine quality and antique texture of frescoes several centuries old. There are several types of fresco by Suh: Copies of old works, works based on old fresco compositions, and new creations. Suh's labor-and-time consuming frescoes embody some of the deceptiveness of contemporary art: the artists preserves the time/space element via his fresco canvas, just as some video artists use the camera to manipulator concept of time and space.

    The oeuvres are ostensibly archaic but viewers are constantly stunned by the recent date to its production. Only with such notification do they realize the artist's deliberate intellectualism on the censorship of contemporary influences. The flat spatial composition and depiction of religious and traditional imageries are uniquely heavy yet light in perceptual impression. The sophisticated vacuity in Origin of Karma 0708 (Lot 472) allows the medium of gold leaf to perform as the precondition metaphor for his painting. Suh glistens the surface with golden illumination together with the horizontal alignment of mystical symbolism to harmonize a holy enlightenment in overall ambiance. The incredibly ornate and attentive patterns in Origin of Karma 0706 even furthers his strive to faithfully indulge in traditionalism. Thee artist manages to surreptitiously insert implications of contemporary traits of synthetic mediums, reinterpretation of frescos, and his rejoinder to modernization to counterbalance the exterior of his traditionalist rendering. In overall, he attempts to visually narrate his strong desire to escape from modern reality, in which he later accepts as true as an inevitable factor in present existence as he subtly recites his principle in highly tasteful concealment with his brilliance in religious ornamentation, but always remembering to leave traces of his contemporary influences, whether it be through its seemingly digitally graphic appeal with abstract vacuity of spatial arrangement.